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Report: Israel, US coordinate efforts for tighter scrutiny over UNRWA

November 1, 2019 at 9:39 am

Palestinians gather at the UNRWA building on 17 September 2019 in Gaza City, Gaza [Mustafa Hassona/Anadolu Agency]

The United States and Israel are coordinating efforts to tighten controls over UNRWA, Israel Hayom newspaper revealed earlier this week.

The paper said “a committee named by the UN General Assembly” is set to begin discussions on the renewal of UNRWA’s mandate next week, “which traditionally garners an automatic majority and prevents the agency’s shuttering”. However, this year, the US administration will help Israel in its bid to tighten control over the UN agency’s mission, it added.

According to the paper, preliminary discussions between the Israeli and US missions to the UN, and with the participation of several other countries, “it was decided to present the General Assembly with two demands; the first is to cut UNRWA’s mandate short, so that it is renewed annually rather than every three years; and the second, to compel UNRWA to increase its financial transparency.”

“UNRWA is a burden on the international community,” Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon told the Jerusalem Post on Wednesday. “It utilizes the world’s funds for disseminating lies and false narratives against the State of Israel and systematically ignores fulfilling the goal for which it was established. Until the UNRWA gates are permanently closed, we will work with all the tools at our disposal to increase oversight.”

READ: Palestinian fears ‘Arabisation’ of UNRWA funding

Observers believe the recent reports alleging that UNRWA’s work is tainted with corruption are not “coincidental”, and serve Israel and the US’ bid to terminate the Palestinian cause.

UNRWA has come under intense pressure after the US administration suspended financial aid to the UN agency.

Established in 1949, the UN agency currently serves 5.3 million Palestine refugees.